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Maine's MidCoast Forts
Activities: Walking, wildlife watching, photography, exploring historical forts, picnicking
Family-friendly, great for a day trip
Region: Maine's MidCoast & Islands
While visiting Maine’s MidCoast & Islands region may bring to mind charming villages and picturesque beaches, it is also home to historic forts that echo the days we read about in history books. Whether you are a history enthusiast or looking for a unique day trip on the coast, Maine’s historic MidCoast forts are worth exploring. You’ll appreciate the craggy overlooks, shadowy fortresses and well-worn facades that speak of a different time. Don’t miss these three historic treasures on your next MidCoast trip. After your adventure into the past, savor the present moment with some local cuisine.
Named after Revolutionary War Engineer Jeduthan Baldwin, this fort was built between 1905 and 1912 for World War I. Occupying a lofty position on the summit of Sabino Hill, you’ll get to the fort by a gradual, 10-minute uphill hike. Climb up to the six acres encompassing the fort’s barracks, observation post and a hiking trail. Though you cannot always enter the observation post, there are still scenic views of the ocean and even Pond Island Lighthouse. Walk through passageways and rooms of three concrete batteries carved into the hillside overlooking Atkins Bay, and stand at the locations of large pedestal and disappearing guns that were mounted during both World Wars (and have since been removed).
A mile and a half down the road from beautiful Popham Beach State Park, this historic site overlooking the sea is an often-undiscovered gem, by both Mainers and visitors alike. The story of this two-tiered, semi-circular fort from the Civil War-era overlooking the sea is told through informational placards. Though never completed (only two of its three tiers stand before visitors), the documented stories that make up its construction and abandonment are full of intriguing details.
While in Phippsburg, stop by Spinney’s Restaurant (open late May to late November) for fresh seafood, one of their many flavors of ice cream, and beautiful seaside views.
Overlooking the beautiful waterfront that often features playful seals, cruising lobster boats and nesting osprey, this curiously octagonal wooden blockhouse is located on Davis Island, in the town of Edgecomb. Originally built in 1808 to protect precious Wiscasset (historically the most important shipping center north of Boston), today its unique shape allows for breathtaking, panoramic views that often land it on peoples’ lists for wedding venues and family reunions. Relax on the grassy hills while watching the water and coastal wildlife. The pristine condition of the fort and beautiful surroundings paired with its historic significance makes it a great spot for photographers.
Stop in Wiscasset to enjoy generous portions of local seafood and great chowder at Sea Basket. Or head to Shuck Station in Newcastle to sample briny oysters sourced from the clear, cold waters of Maine.
Located on the scenic Pemaquid Peninsula in Bristol, this site of a 17th- century English outpost and fishing station (and previously, the home of Native Americans dating back 1,000 years) will take you back in time. A reconstructed Fort William Henry (the original was built in 1692) offers interpretive panels, artifacts, exhibits and a beautiful rooftop view, while the stone remains of a village give a glimpse of what once was. There is also a museum that helps breathe life into the historic site, with dozens of exhibits on the history of Pemaquid, spanning ancient Native American life through the colonial period.
Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of The Harbor Room Restaurant, while savoring everything from fresh seafood to tender prime rib.